Garden Sheds Buying Guide
Garden sheds have long been a staple in many UK homes and gardens. These structures take pride in solving outdoor storage dilemmas and are a significant ‘home improvement’ that homeowners are eager to invest in, and you may be, too — that’s why you’re here.
But with financial considerations in mind, you’ll want to make sure every pound goes on the right shed. We understand how important it is and that’s why, together with our experts, we’ve curated this shed buying guide, addressing all the key points and FAQ. Follow the guide and consider what you need from each element of a shed.
A garden storage shed lives up to its name. It provides a place for stowing items that may otherwise take up valuable space indoors. This can include garden tools, outdoor equipment, and other household items.
But there’s so much more potential to a shed than simply a dumping ground for clutter. With the huge variety in sizes and shapes, there isn’t one cookie-clutter version of a shed. Beyond storage, common shed purposes include:
- Workshop shed: For DIY projects, woodworking, and other crafts.
- Gym shed: Equipped with garden gym equipment and other fitness essentials.
- Potting shed: As a sheltered space for gardening tasks and cultivating plants.
- Bike shed: For securing bikes, protecting them from the elements, and organising.
That’s not all of them of course - you can tailor the purpose of your shed to your needs and interests, but it’s crucial you have a grasp on what it will be used for. This is because the use determines the type of shed you’ll need. For instance, if you’re looking to create an art studio, you’ll need a shed with windows and enough space to fit your equipment in.
Choosing Shed Size
Shed dimensions vary depending on the style and material - manufacturers also play a role. Each size determines the structure’s functionality and how well it fits your demands.
Sheds can come in various dimensions to suit your needs and available space. Sizes commonly available are as follows:
A size that’s too small, may result in insufficient storage or a cramped workspace. One that’s too large, like a 20x16, can be an unnecessary expense and may overwhelm your outdoor space.
A well-chosen unit size ensures efficient utilisation and organisation. Meaning it can accommodate whatever you plan to store inside with ease and comfort. Furthermore, it can impact local regulations, which may restrict shed size. This applies to any shed buying guide and material, such as wooden, plastic or metal sheds.
Where you situate your shed will influence its utility and impact on your property. We emphasise its importance for convenient access to tools and equipment. Shed placement also impacts environmental factors like sun exposure and drainage. This is crucial for long-term durability and may help for future landscaping ideas.
Consider what you’ll be placing your shed next to or near. If it’s by or beneath a tree, it could be at risk of falling twigs or branches during high winds. The shadow of the tree could also affect how much sunlight it receives.
It’s beneficial to plan the location of your shed before you buy it. This ensures you don’t run into any “surprises” when it comes to installation.
Note: You can always relocate or do “shed moving” in the future for a makeover or to accommodate a new garden layout.
Cladding Types and Thickness
In wooden sheds, cladding refers to the outer covering of the outbuilding’s timber panels. It makes up the outer structure — in essence, the walls, floor, and roof. Measurements relating to these features apply to the thickness.
There are several factors to consider when it comes to selecting the right cladding type:
A cost-effective option with boards that overlap each other. It provides decent weather resistance, but it may have less insulation.
Shiplap tongue and groove:
It features interlocking boards that create a tight-fitting surface. This offers better weather protection and insulation, ideal for year-round use.
Standard tongue and groove:
Offers even more robust protection and insulation thanks to the interlocking surfaces.
Consider your budget, the intended use of the shed, and your local climate. Shiplap and standard T&G cladding are ideal for areas with harsh weather conditions. In contrast, overlap types may suffice in milder climates.
Roof Types and Coverings
You’ll likely encounter various choices for shed roofing and coverings. For roofing, available options are:
The apex roof, also known as a gable roof, is a traditional V-shaped design with two sloping sides meeting at a ridge. It offers a classic appearance and efficient rainwater drainage.
A pent roof features a single slope, ideal for sheds against a wall or fence. It’s a sleek, modern choice that maximises interior space.
Reverse Apex Roof
This roof style combines the pent and apex designs, offering a unique look. It provides the benefits of an apex roof while having an off-centre entrance.
- Felt roof Covering: A common and cost-effective roofing material. It’s easy to install and provides excellent weather protection. Keep in mind, though, that it may have a shorter lifespan than other materials.
- EPDM: Stands for Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer. It’s a rubber roofing that promises a durable and long-lasting option. It guarantees superior weather protection and insulation.
- Shingles: Roof Shingles are typically made of asphalt, wood, or fibreglass. Regardless, they provide an attractive and long-lasting roofing solution.
Top tip: Consider the shed’s design, your budget, and local weather conditions. Each option has advantages, so you can select the one that best suits your needs.
Windows and Doors
These aspects of a shed contribute to the overall functionality, security, and aesthetics. Adequate windows provide natural light and ventilation, enhancing overall ambience. They are especially vital for workspace sheds like a makeshift garden office.
For this, you have two options: 1.) with windows — opting for glazing, and 2.) windowless. Glazing can be real glass or a safer alternative like styrene, which is shatterproof. It is vital for tasks inside a shed but not needed for basic storage. The latter option is a smart choice for security enhancement, which is essential for models used for bike storage.
The right window style and placement ensure the interior remains well-lit and pleasant. Top tip: For timber workshops and potting sheds, opening windows offer crucial ventilation. .
As for the entry points or doors, go for robust, lockable ones for top security. The size should accommodate the intended use. Most shed models come with single or double-door options. One maximises wall storage, but for storing large items like ride-on mowers — make it two! Sliding doors work well in tight spaces, too.
A solid foundation is key to top performance and longevity, as with any garden building. This rule isn’t an exception but a must in a shed buying guide. There are four types available on the market and/or for a DIY approach to building a shed base:
This shed base type offers exceptional stability and durability and is best for heavy sheds. It provides excellent protection against ground moisture and can last for decades.
Wood is a versatile and cost-effective choice. It’s suitable for sheds of various sizes and can be customised to the structure’s dimensions. Properly treated wooden bases can last for many years.
Lightweight, easy to install, and rot-resistant — the top qualities of plastic bases. They work well for smaller units and are effective at preventing ground moisture.
4. Paving slabs
A flat, sturdy, and often rectangular piece of concrete, stone, or other materials. Placed on a level surface, these slabs create a stable platform for the shed, offering support. Among the popular choices due to their durability and ease of installation.
Shed accessories are essential to getting the most out of your investment. These extras can transform a basic garden storage into an extraordinary one. What’s more, they make the structure more versatile, allowing you to tailor it to your needs.
Shelving, hooks, and tool racks are great examples which help improve organisation. Consider lighting and insulation if you wish to extend your shed’s utility year-round. Shed locks and alarms can help enhance security, safeguarding your belongings.
Your Questions Answered
What is the strongest type of shed?
The strength of a shed largely depends on the materials used in its construction. Steel sheds are typically the strongest. They offer robust protection against the elements and potential intruders. What’s more, the material is durable, weather-resistant, and virtually maintenance-free.
For ultimate strength, look for sheds with galvanised steel frames and walls. Metal outperforms wood and plastic in terms of overall strength and security. However, the choice also depends on your specific needs, budget, and the intended use of the shed.
What type of shed is the cheapest?
The answer often leads to wooden sheds, particularly those made with lower-cost softwood. Although they can be cheap, their longevity may not match that of pricier materials such as steel. Keep in mind that maintenance costs should also be considered..
How many years do sheds last?
The lifespan of a shed varies widely based on materials and maintenance. A well-maintained metal shed can last 20-30 years or more. Meanwhile, wooden ones typically endure 10-15 years and more for pressure treated sheds. Plastic storage sheds tend to last 10-20 years.
Regular maintenance, like treating wood and replacing roofing, can extend their lifespan.
What type of sheds last the longest?
Is shed insulation necessary?
Whether or not to insulate your shed depends on its use. If temperature control is vital, insulation is beneficial. It’s also an investment that pays off in comfort and energy savings when the shed serves as a living space. For help on installation, consult our help insulation guide.
Insulation helps maintain a comfortable environment and reduces energy costs. Note: For basic storage sheds, insulation may not be necessary.
Should my shed have a floor?
We recommend including a floor in your shed for several reasons. It creates a clean, level surface, preventing ground moisture. A floor also helps deter pests from entering and offers insulation.
If your shed doesn’t come with a floor, consider adding one to enhance usability and longevity.
How do I prepare for my shed?
Preparation is key for a successful shed installation. Start by clearing and levelling the area where the shed will be placed. Ensure proper drainage to prevent water accumulation. Gather all the necessary tools and materials. Consider any utility connections if your shed requires them.
Note: Some regions may require permits or adherence to zoning regulations. Make sure to check with your local authorities!
How big does your shed need to be?
Consider what you plan to store or use the shed for. Measure your larger items and allow extra room for movement. It’s better to choose a bit larger shed than you initially think you need. This trick provides flexibility and ensures you won’t outgrow your shed too quickly.